LETTER FROM WILLIAM M. LATTA
Submitted by Alex Latta, Jr., Branch 16 Captain, Edmonton, Alberta, firstname.lastname@example.org
252 E. Morton Avenue
Nashville, 11, Tenn., USA
May 26, 1962
Dear Mr. Irvine,
I received your kind letter of May 17th telling of the death of your grandfather Robert Latta of St. Johnston, County Donegal, Eire. We are indeed sorry to hear of Robert's death and although it has been some time now, let me extend our sympathy to you and your family for the loss of a loved one. I note by your letter that your mother was a daughter of Robert Latta! Is your mother still living and what is er age. I would be interested in hearing from you again with more information on Robert's family and f there were any sons to carry on the "Latta" name.
I suppose you have talked with Thomas Latta, your cousins, of 11 Glenbank Rd. Londonderry, since I began writing him several years ago!
He is the one who gave me your grandfather's address and I have sent him a Christmas card nearly each year since then. I thought he might enjoy hearing from one of his American Cousins. Your grandfather once sent me a picture of himself and one of his sons-in-law.
Several years ago I became interestd in tracing my father's ancestry and it took many years to trace it back to Northern Ireland, but after a lot of research and a lot of help doing it, I finally found out that my Lattas here in America nearly all came from County Donegal and possibly lived in or around St. Johnston where your grandfather lived except that they left there to come to America about 1738. There were five Latta brothers who came over at the same time: James; John; Thomas; Robert & Matthew. I am a descendent of James underscored above, who had three sons by his first wife - Samuel, William and John! And one son James by his second wife. His second wife's name was Mary Allison from Lec, N. Ireland. His first wife's name we do not know.
I am descended from the John above who was a son by the unknown first wife. Jams, Sr., one of the five brother, that I am a descendant of, settled in Chester Co., Pennsylvania near the Maryland line. Here he and his wife died about 1745. They were all of Scotch and Irish blood and all Presbyterians by faith. John Latta, son of one of the five brothers were born in County Donegal, N. Ireland (or Eire now) in 1727 and died in Lancaster Co., South Carolina Jan. 9, 1795. He is buried in the old Waxhaw Presbyterian Church graveyard about eight miles north west of Lancaster S.C. Most of the five brothers settled in Pennsylvania and their descendants moved south and west as the states became open to the white man! In 1817 a grandson of John Latta, Sr. (1727 to 1795) came to Maury County, Tennessee and settled. I am a descendant of his William Latta.
The name "Latta" is a very ancient name and a very ancient family - dating back to the times before Christ - It is a Latin name - (Roman) meaning lid or cover in old Latin and later generations moved up into Gaul (later France) and Normandy.
The first Lattas in England came over as invading Normans with "William the Conqueror" in 1066 A.D. They first settled in Northern Scotland around Aberdeen and later branches settled in Ayr Shire on the south west coast.
Branches of these Ayr Lattas moved over into Northern Ireland about 1620 because of English Persecution etc. - where some of them (like yourself) still reside!
Did you ever hear of old William Latta of Scotland who was made a Baron by Richard I (The Lion Hearted) of England in 1191 A.D. for his services during the 3rd Crusade to the Holy Lands? You and I are probably descendants of his. He was a descendant of the first Latta to come to the British Isles from the Continent - therefore of Norman descent!
Do you know of any other Lattas in Ireland besides Thomas of Londonderry? If so I would like to have their addresses. Also in your travels as a Merchant Seaman I would like to know if you have run across any more by the name? Anything you can tell me about your mother's people (the Lattas) will be greatly appreciated. Do you or any other of the family have enough history to trace the Latta's back to Ayr Shire Scotland or not?
So sorry to hear of your grandfather's death but glad to hear from you and getting the clipping of it. Many thanks!
Hoping to hear from you again - telling me more about yourself and family!
William M. Latta
Letter sent Sept 21, 1978 to George Irvine, 18 Prehen Road, Riverside Londonderry. Mrs. Sarah Irvine is sister of Robt. Latta, Churchtown.